Neville Longbottom sat in the Great Hall, staring at the tabletop in silent wonder. It was over. Harry had killed "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named." Voldemort and the Death Eaters would no longer terrorize the world.
The events of the last year flooded into Neville's mind. The attack on the school that resulted in Dumbledore's death and funeral. The fall of the Ministry. Snape taking over Hogwarts. The Carrows making life miserable. The beatings, the torture, the punishments. The worry over Gran. The last few weeks of hiding out in the Room of Requirement. It was all over now. The war was over. It was almost too much to believe.
It had not come cheaply, though. Neville swung his legs from the bench and stood, moving away from the crowds at the tables and making his way over to the more sombre section of the Great Hall, the portion where the bodies of the fallen had been respectfully placed. There were fewer than there could have been, really, but still far too many.
He walked down the line of bodies, most surrounded by friends or family, keeping his distance so as not too intrude upon the grief of others. Neville didn't recognize most of the dead, probably members of the Order of the Phoenix, but he did see a few sadly familiar faces.
Fred Weasley. Neville could barely wrap his mind around it. One of the unconquerable Weasley twins, dead forever. Around Fred's body was gathered the rest of the Weasley family, all in shocked silence and tears.
Professor Lupin. Well, he hadn't been a professor for a while now, but that was how Neville would always think of him. He had been the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher they had ever had. He was the first professor to ever believe in Neville, to ever show any faith in his abilities. Neville couldn't even begin to imagine how Professor Lupin had died when he had survived. It wasn't fair.
Next to Lupin was a young witch that Neville only knew as one of the Aurors that had been stationed around the school the previous year. He realized it must be the woman that the professor had married. Someone had joined her hand with Lupin's. They were surround by a group of adults, a mixture of professors and Order members staring down at the couple. Neville kept walking.
He passed more bodies, more people he didn't recognize. At the end of the line, though, the last person laid out was another familiar face. There were no mourners surrounding him at the moment. Neville stopped there, at the body of the youngest casualty of the Battle of Hogwarts.
Colin Creevey lay in silent repose, somehow looking very small, his eyes closed. He was covered in dirt and sweat, just as they all were, but there was no sign of injury. If Neville didn't know any better, he might have thought that Colin was just sleeping.
But he did know better, had even helped carry the limp form into the Great Hall. He knew that the Avada Kedavra left no marks, no trace of injury. It didn't matter that the person being struck down was barely 16 years old, with his whole life ahead of him. None of that made him any less dead. Neville wasn't surprised that Colin had sneaked back in, underage or not. Colin had spent most of the previous summer looking for a magical relative to confirm his Blood Status so he and his brother could continue at Hogwarts, and with similar determination, he had refused to be hustled off to safety when the school and the friends he loved were under attack. It was easy to see why he had been sorted into Gryffindor.
Neville's thoughts were interrupted by a quiet sniff next to him. He turned and saw that he had been joined by Ernie, Seamus, and Lavender. All were staring down at the boy's body.
Neville wasn't sure how long they stood together in silence, but finally Ernie spoke, his whisper sounding strangely loud. “W-we should... we should do something, shouldn't we? He was a member of the D.A. He stuck with us all year. We owe him something.”
Seamus and Lavender both nodded their heads, and all three looked up at Neville expectantly. This was the position he had been put in all year, and one with which he was still not comfortable. Leadership was not in Neville Longbottom's nature. And besides, what could they do? Colin's parents would have a service for him, surely, and—
Neville's thoughts were derailed by a sudden realization. A distant uncle whom he had never met notwithstanding, Colin Creevey was Muggle-born. Neville didn't generally think in terms of Muggle-born, half-blood, and pure-blood, but in this instance it seemed significant. Colin's body would be sent to his Muggle parents, who would have a Muggle funeral attended by all of Colin's other Muggle relatives. There wouldn't be — couldn't be — any mention of how or why he died. No one at the service, with the possible exceptions of Colin's parents and his brother, would have any idea of the battle he had fought or the sacrifice he had made.
Neville nodded once. “Yeah, I reckon you're right. You three go round up all the members and tell them to meet in the Room of Requirement in half an hour. Dumbledore's Army is having one last meeting.”
Neville staggered down the seventh-floor corridor, struggling to carry several cases of butterbeer. He had made a side trip to the kitchens before coming up here. The house-elves, though still tending to their own wounded, were more than happy to supply him with drinks.
He stopped outside the stretch of blank wall where he knew the door would appear and thought hard. We need a place to remember Colin Creevey. We need a place to remember Colin Creevey. We need a place to remember Colin Creevey.
Neville backed through the rough wooden door that appeared and set the cases of butterbeer on a low table next to the entrance. When he turned to face the rest of the room, his jaw dropped. He was, even after having used it all year, still shocked by the abilities of the Room of Requirement.
It looked a bit like the Gryffindor common room, with a fire burning along one wall and gold and red banners hanging from the ceiling. There were a few small chairs and tables scattered around, and there would be more than enough space for everyone that might come. None of that is what caught Neville's eye.
Every inch of every wall, from floor to ceiling, was covered in photographs. The room was practically wallpapered with them. There were a few Muggle pictures staring out, perfectly still, but most of them were wizard photographs. The resulting barrage of movement was almost nauseating.
Quidditch matches. Giant pumpkins. Feasts in the Great Hall. People studying in the library. The Shrieking Shack. Students charming matchsticks and teacups and tortoises. The Goblet of Fire. Trolleys being pushed along platform 9 ¾. Owls swooping down to deliver the morning post. A small boy sitting on a stool with the Sorting Hat on his head. Christmas trees alight with fairies. Hagrid caressing a Blast-Ended Skrewt. The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade.
Neville walked slowly around the room, his eyes almost crossing with the effort of focusing on each picture individually, watching life at Hogwarts through the eyes and lens of Colin Creevey and his ubiquitous camera.
Students grubbing in the dirt in the greenhouses. People laughing and talking in the common room. McGonagall passing back essays. Chocolate-smeared faces in Honeydukes. Triwizard tournament events. First-years playing gobstones. The Hogwarts Express. Filch and Mrs. Norris stalking students. Peeves dropping dungbombs.
Some of the photos were more recent. Neville couldn't begin to imagine how — or even why — Colin had managed to take these pictures during this last terrible year at Hogwarts.
Snape sitting in the Headmaster's chair. Alecto Carrow watching Crabbe cast the Cruciatus on a young Ravenclaw girl. Madame Pomfrey tending to Michael Corner. Hannah Abbot paraded in front of the school in chains. The Patil twins holding one another, sobbing into each other's shoulders. He even saw a picture of himself, wiping blood from his face.
Neville stopped to take a closer look at one of the pictures. It was a group photo of the original D.A., from his fifth year. Only two years ago, but they all looked so much younger, and not only physically. There was a carefree happiness on all the faces, even his own, that he hadn't seen in a very long time. Back then, the D.A. was just about practicing defense and hoping to pass exams and getting one over on Umbridge. It had grown to mean so much more.
A sound from behind caused Neville to look around. He hadn't noticed other people coming into the room, but there were quite a few now, walking around and looking at the pictures.
Seamus, Terry, and Ernie were laughing quietly at a picture of Seamus with his eyebrows burned off. Anthony and the Patil twins were watching D.A. members Stun and disarm each other. Ron and Ginny stood with their arms around each other, tears in their eyes, in front of a picture of the Weasley twins and their legendary exit from Hogwarts. Luna, Dean, Hannah, and Hermione watched a photo of Dumbledore addressing the students. Harry stood alone with a quill in his hand, staring at a much younger version of himself lying on the ground with a useless rubbery tube where his arm should have been. Neville couldn't help but smile when Harry gave a deep sigh and signed the picture.
Neville continued to watch the crowd of people as they walked around the room and reminisced over the photos. When it became obvious that there would be no one else joining them, he made his way over to the table on which he had left the butterbeer. On the wall above the table was the largest photograph in the room. It was a poster-sized picture of Colin, with his arm around Dennis, both grinning widely and waving at the camera. Neville stood looking at it for a moment. He didn't know who had taken it for them, but was glad that someone did. It was perhaps the only picture in the room that actually had Colin in it.
After wiping his eyes with a sleeve, Neville started handing around the bottles of butterbeer. People noticed the activity and moved towards the table and the one large photo of Colin. Once the butterbeers had been passed out, Neville took one for himself and nervously raised a hand to quiet the crowd. Silence fell and all eyes in the room turned towards him. He cleared his throat and began speaking.
“Uh, hello everyone. I-I thought we should have one last meeting, I hope no one minds. I know we've all been through a lot. We, uh, we l-lost some people tonight, some really good people. One of them was a member of the D.A, someone who stuck by us all this last year. I think from the room you all know that I'm talking about Colin Creevey. He shouldn't have even been fighting, really, he was underage, but I don't think any of us are too surprised by it, are we? If we learned just one thing about Colin this year, it was that he was pretty persistent when he wanted to be.” There were a few chuckles around the room as Neville continued. “Uh, to be honest, I'm really not very good at speeches and such, but...”
He trailed off, at a loss as to how to continue. His eyes darted around, searching for inspiration, and landed on the large photo of Colin, who gave him a quick wink. Neville looked at the picture, at all the pictures, and took a deep breath.
“They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If you look around the room, I think you'll agree that Colin had far more to say about himself, about the D.A., about Hogwarts, and about what it really means to be a wizard than any of us ever could. He would want us to remember the good times, and there have been loads of them, but he would want us to remember the rough times as well, so we never forget why we fought this war or the people who fought it with us.” Neville raised his bottle of butterbeer. “Dumbledore's Army! Raise your glasses to Colin Creevey, a good friend, a hero, and the most eloquent Gryffindor of all.”
Authors Note: I meant to put an Author's Note at the end of the first chapter, but completely forgot about it. I'm new to this site, so thanks to everyone who read and reviewed chapter 1, it is much appreciated.
For chapter 2, I wanted to write something from Neville's perspective just because I thought he turned out so very cool in the last book, and decided on Colin Creevey. This was a lot harder to write than the first chapter, owing mostly to the fact that we are given so much less information about Colin than about Fred. But, since I haven't seen much written about Colin, I thought I would give it a shot.
Much thanks to the PhoenixSong staff for allowing me to post my stories here, to everyone who reads and reviews, and special thanks to my beta, Arnel, who has been wonderful.